After escaping from an attempted lynch attempt and making it to the police station to tell the story, most people would expect a hero’s welcome, with joy and relief the prevailing emotions. This wasn’t quite the experience of one Jewish family from Gush Shilo, however…
Uri and Ranana were driving home one night along the winding roads of the Binyamin region, with four of their children in the back of the car – aged nine, five, three, and a baby of eighteen months. Suddenly, Ranana yelled to her husband to stop the car and the vehicle lurched to a halt.
“To our right, there was a steep cliff – to the left, a sharp ravine,” she relates. “Suddenly I saw rocks on the road, and I shouted to my husband to brake. Then we saw more clearly, and it was obvious that there was no way we could pass. It was just as obvious that we couldn’t reverse on that narrow road, in the dark – we were stuck. And then, as we sat there wondering what to do – Boom. Stones started hitting the car.
“The car shook with every impact and the front windshield cracked. My children were screaming in the back and I told them to put their heads down and keep their hands over their heads and that Mommy and Daddy were dealing with it – and they shouldn’t worry. The stones kept hitting, some of them right next to the window where my baby was sleeping, and he woke up and started screaming too.”
At that point, the father took out his weapon and fired a single shot into the air, causing the terrorists to flee back to their village. Then they called the security hotline, and got out to clear the road of the rocks that blocked their way. As they continued along their journey, they found additional rocks on the road. “It was a real death trap,” Ranana relates.
The nightmare wasn’t over, however. “When we got to the police station on Monday, the officer on duty turned to my husband and asked him if he wanted to speak to a lawyer before he started the interrogation. We were appalled. Interrogation? What for? ‘You’ll hear why at the interrogation,’ was all the officer would tell us. Then we found out it was because my husband had used his weapon.
“We were in shock – we couldn’t believe what we were hearing. We had been pelted with rocks, and fired a single warning shot into the air in order to protect ourselves – and now they wanted to question us and even open a criminal investigation? We had been hoping for a measure of comfort and reassurance from the police, and then to file the necessary paperwork and get back to our lives, in the hope that they’d find the terrorists and deal with them properly. Instead, they were turning my husband into the guilty party.”
In the end, attorney Nati Rom of the Honenu organization came to their aid. After he was questioned, the father was released unconditionally. Head of the Binyamin Regional Council Yisrael Ganz also offered what support he could, and his contacts with the police expedited the father’s swift release.
Commenting on the incident, Attorney Rom said: “It’s absolutely incredible that a family that managed to rescue itself from an attempted lynching is being treated like criminals and needs to engage a lawyer to assist them. Every single night there are shooting incidents in the Arab villages of Judea and Samaria and the police don’t lift a finger, yet the moment a Jew is forced to defend himself with his weapon, firing a single shot to save his life – which is permitted according to the law – he is subjected to an interrogation. This is an absurd situation.”